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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

NUS Summary

I shall now summarize the 2 short years of my life in NUS.

I knew life in NUS will be of few friends from my poly friends (girls) who enrolled before me. They told me it is always difficult to make new friends especially those from JCs. Those from JCs usually have their own usually big group of buddies and when come to forming groups for projects, they are always together. So, it is good to come in with someone whom you know of especially if you are from poly. I am from poly but I am the only one enrolling in year 2003/2004. Girls enrolled 1 year before me and all guys enrolled 1 year later than me because they choose not to disrupt from NS.

I conducted a medical checkup at NUS one hot afternoon. That was the first day I set foot on NUS. As required by NUS for all poly students, I took QET (Qualified English Test). I bumped onto a primary school friend, Francis. We lost contact after PSLE even though he lived just opposite my block. Francis was from NP. The paper was tough and as expected, I failed the paper. I attended a seminar for poly students on how to choose modules. I saw Francis and made more friends all being Francis's friends. They are all from NP. From them, I heard all failed the QET except one. I think that was expected since all of us did not have exposure to English writing for at least 5 years. I had set myself Bachelor in Computing (Tech Focus). Getting a Honours degree never came to my mind because I knew there are far too many modules like Mathematics modules, Physics module, life science module, Singapore Studies module, and General Education modules that will kill poly students. Our Mathematics, Sciences and English capabilities are far behind others. Let's settle for a Merit instead of a 2nd Lower of 3rd class honour degree. 2 years and get out of it.

I attended the NUS orientation but only turned up for 2.5 days out of the total 5 days - first day, third day and the half day on UNIX workshop. Through this orientation, I got to know friends like Regine (who became my girlfriend later), James, Peiru, etc.

Bid for Modules
Bidding for modules with virtual points? That's new. From recommendations from my poly friends (girls), I chose my modules carefully. After all, they are my seniors. I bidded for 5 modules and they are, 1) CS2104 - Programming Language Concepts, 2) CS2106 - Operating Systems, 3) CS2250 - Fundamentals of Information Systems, 4) MA1505C - Mathematics 1, and 5) GEK1505 - Living With Mathematics. I took an additional 6th module ET1000 to satisfy the English requirement.

2003/2004 Sem 1
I dropped CS2250 - Fundamentals of Information Systems because I find that module too business-like. I never like this type of module. I prefer technical stuff. This means I had only 4 modules this semester and I would need to take an additional module to make up for this. ET1000 is a module I love. Lots of interaction and chatting. Class size is small and we have discussion groups instead of lectures. Everyone know one another. From ET1000, I get to know friends like Wenkang, Rui Kai, etc. MA1505C is a module I dislike (not hate). I spent most of my time on MA1505C. Mathematics used to be my strongest module in primary and secondary school days but in NUS, I am handicapped. I was at the science library reading the Calculus RBR textbook most of my free time. From this semester, I got to know friends from other poly like Francis (NP), Ziwei (NP), Chunyin (NP), and Peiru (NYP). We worked together as project mates from this semester onwards.

2003/2004 Sem 2
I took 6 modules this time to make up the one I dropped 1 semester ago and they are 1) CS1231 - Discrete Structures, 2) CS2105 - Computer Networks 1, 3) CS3240 - Human Computer Interaction, 4) LSM1302 - Genes and Society, 5) MA1101R - Linear Algebra 1, and 6) ST1232 - Probability & Statistics. LSM1302 and MA1101R were not my cup of tea but I still have to take them. CS1231 is another Maths-like module even though it is prefixed as CS (Computer Science). CS1231 is all about proving mathematical methodologies, formulas, graph theories, and probabilities. Notice the so many non-CS modules here. I hate them! There is particular one friend whom took 2 modules with me! Regine is the one! She also took CS1231 and LSM1302. It was this semester whereby we got to know each other better. She eventually became my girlfriend.

2004/2005 Sem 1
I took 5 modules and they are 1) CS2281 - Programming in UNIX, 2) CS3235 - Introduction to Computer Security, 3) CS3266 - E-Commerce Technologies, 4) EC1301 - Principles of Economics, and 5) GEK2000 - The U.S. From Settlement to Superpower.

2004/2005 Sem 2 (Final Sem)
I took 4 modules this time and they are 1) CS2301 - Business and Technical Communication, 2) CS3214 - Information Systems Development Project, 3) FNA1002 - Financial Accounting, and 4) SSB2216 - Employee Management In Singapore. 4 modules do not imply easy semester. This is because one of them, CS3214, is a big final year project. I was grouped with Francis, Ziwei, Chunyin and Peiru.

I knew I will miss NUS. I will miss everything. Life in NUS is very much different from primary, secondary and poly life. In NUS, competition is too strong and many have shown their true colours.

Some have proven to be selfish and they have the calibre of a 100% hypocrite. He can go around telling people "I did not study", "I will definitely fail", etc. but then in the end, he is always studying. I don't understand why make it so obvious that you are studying very hard, spending sleepless nights, and at the same time going around telling others his famous quotes.

There is another group of people whom I classify as free loader. These free loaders always don't like to contribute in a group project. They can sleep during group discussions, appear to be busy, appear to be indifferent, always seen to be complaining about workload, always seen to be complaining on lecturers, etc. Free loaders are very clever because they can get away with it and share equal grades for the group project. Free loaders are NOT those who have tried but are unable to make solid contribution to the project. If one has tried their best, then they are not free loaders.

Another group is the lost-credible group. He used to be the okay type but then after 1 semester, because of poor CAP score, he became very grade conscious. He can make friends who are better in programming, studies, etc. He will try to stick with these friends and then try to form project groups with them. He can agree in joining a group but then jump boat to another group with "better" project mates. This person has lost his credibility.

There is whom I label as the sigh-group. People of this group are in search for a minor degree in areas like IS, etc. However, their CAP are enough just for a pass. They may even flunk one or more modules. They will end up getting a minor degree just because they manage to pass all modules eventually no matter what grade they got. I feel universities should set a minimum CAP requirement for students who wish to obtain a minor.

There are many more cases in NUS. I believe this has to do with the intense competition faced by everyone. Everyone wants to be better than everyone but end up doing things which are unbelievable. Everything is getting ugly.

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